Royal Caribbean surveys passengers about charging for pizza, adding axe throwing to ships and more

10 Aug 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean wants to know if a planetarium, obstacle course, or a change in the food they charge for are things its passengers might want on a future cruise ship.

Sorrentos Pizza

Like many companies, Royal Caribbean will send surveys to its customers to not only get feedback on what their past experience was like, but to also see what people think about changes.

A survey sent to select cruisers this week hinted at some possible ideas the cruise line has and wants to know what its loyal cruisers think.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Michael Dorgan shared some of the questions he received in a post-cruise survey form that went beyond just asking him what his last cruise was like.

To be clear, nothing has changed or announced by Royal Caribbean. These are just questions to select cruisers sent via email survey.

The survey started to drill down in the dining and asking about Sorrento's, which is the complimentary pizza restaurant found on most Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

The question posed was, "If Sorrento's Pizza was offered for a fee, would you still dine there?".

Email survey

Sorrento's pizza is a staple of the food included on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It has a near cult-like following among avid cruisers who like it especially late at night. More importantly, charging for the pizza would remove effectively the only complimentary late-night food available on Royal Caribbean ships.

It then asked if changing Sorrento's from complimentary to an extra cost venue would stop them from cruising with Royal Caribbean, "How would Sorrento's Pizza being offered for a fee impact your likelihood to choose Royal Caribbean in future?"

Email survey

Then the survey moved toward new restaurant concepts, and in particular seafood restaurants, and what style of restaurant would a guest want to see on future ships.


Options included Greek, Cajun, Peruvian, British, Caribbean, New England style, surf & turf, or sushi. 

Royal Caribbean already has a New England seafood specialty restaurant with Hooked, and sushi on many of its ships with Izumi.

Another question on the survey was about the cruise line's specialty dining packages, and would the person buy it or not, and how they rated the dining package on past cruises.

Email survey

Lastly, the survey asked how much interest there would be in new kinds of experiences on future cruise ships. It listed axe throwing, go-karts, an indoor playground, pickleball court, roller coaster, obstacle course, or a planetarium.

Asking about new experiences to offer onboard is no surprise. Cruise ships have made a name for themselves over the last 30 years by continuously adding "I can't believe they put that on a cruise ship" experiences. Royal Caribbean is arguably the most synonymous with adding whizz-bang activities to its ships.

Bolt roller coaster

All of the ideas would be new to Royal Caribbean, but not necessarily the cruise industry. Norwegian Cruise Line has go-karts on some of its newer ships, and Carnival added a roller coaster to its Excel Class ships.

How realistic is it for these changes to occur?

Slice of pizza

Will Royal Caribbean actually start charging for pizza? Or add a planetarium to the next new cruise ship? No one really knows.

Historically, Royal Caribbean has used surveys to to test out all sorts of ideas, many of which never see the light of day as a change.

Royal Caribbean main dining room

On the other hand, sometimes surveys are indeed precursors to a new addition. In November 2022, Royal Caribbean used surveys extensively leading up to a main dining room menu change in 2023.

It's impossible to know what the future holds. The cruise industry is always evolving, but at this point, surveys should be used as "food for thought", rather than confirmation of anything the line may do.

Reader reaction

If the Royal Caribbean Blog community is any indication, charging for the same pizza that used to be at no cost is not something anyone wants to see, and many see it indicative of a larger set of cut backs and changes over the last few years.

The same survey made it to some other readers, who took to our message boards to voice their opinions.

"Charging for Sorrento’s pizza would be a relatively small thing I guess, but it would frustrate me," said teddy.

Pizza being sliced

ChessE4 sees a real problem with charging for pizza, "Charging for Sorrentos would be the beginning of the end for me. It would be like charging extra for dessert."

Al Miller seemed frustrated at the pattern of increased cost to cruise, "Record earnings! Best quarter ever! You hear this and you think "Whew!" Maybe now they can stop the death by a thousand cuts that is killing my desire to book anything new. Nope! Let's see how fast and how far they can gut the core experience."

JimnKathy hope the survey is merely the line dipping their toe in the water, "I'd like to think these survey questions are merely being test-marketed to gauge guest response...hopefully the RCL marketing/finance folks hear the responses loud and clear."

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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